Passive, Aggressive and Assertive Communication Styles

Passive, aggressive and assertive are communication styles. Which communication style do you use? Maybe at times you use them all but which one would you like to use most often? Learn more.

Passive communication is defined as not expressing thoughts, feelings or beliefs in an honest straight forward manner but expressing them in a hesitant manner and thus allowing others to disregard them. This style violates your own rights and often disrespects other peoples’ ability to handle their own responsibilities or problems. For example “I don’t like it when you talk to me that way” which is assertive unless you say it passively. Passive includes the way you say it, the tone of your voice and your body language. Are you looking down when you are talking or making eye contact? Other things to notice are; long rambling sentences, beating around the bush, hesitating and pausing, throat clearing, apologizing, saying words like if you don’t mind, if its not a bother, sort of, maybe, using a sing sung voice, saying it soft or overly warm, or uttering qualifiers, dismissals, superior and/or self put downs. The non-verbals might be looking down, averting your gaze, bending posture, wringing hands, covering mouth, or trembling jaw. The thinking style is; I don’t want to upset anyone, my feeling don’t count and I don’t count.

Aggressive Communication is defined as communicating to get your rights met by expressing your needs, beliefs and thoughts but with a method that hurts others. Communication may be aggressive, superior and may leave a devastating effect on the other person. The style of communicating might be abrupt, fast, fluent, firm, sarcastic, blaming, threatening, full of put downs, racist, boastful, and opinionated. Body language may be starring, intruding, lots of gesturing, invading your space, sneering, and seemingly angry. The thinking style is; the world is a battle field, I’ll get you before you get me and I’m number one.

Assertive Communication is a way of expressing feeling, thoughts and beliefs without hurting others and still getting your rights met. Things you notice are; speaking fluently, relaxed firm voice, steady, tone is rich and warm, sincere and clear, volume is right for the situation, brief cooperative statements that are to the point, distinguish between fact and opinion, constructive criticisms, valuing others opinions, willing and open. Body language is open hands, receptive listening, erect body stance, honest feeling expression, steady features and jaw relaxed. The thinking style is; I won’t allow you to take advantage of me and I will let you be who you are.

Communication styles can be learnt, improved and/or changed to reflect who you are and to authentically express your feelings, thoughts and beliefs so you let you, be who you are and allow others to be who they are.

Irene Haire, MC, RCAT, Registered Provisional Psychologist/Registered Art Therapist is in private practice in Edmonton at The GB Building Downstairs-9562- 82 Avenue, 780-232-1055 www.cloverdalecounselling.com/ email info@cloverdalecounselling.com